USAMRICD Scientist Receives Visionary Mentorship Award

Dr. John H. McDonough discusses brain wave data from a test of an anticonvulsant drug with Sergiu Costinas

Dr. John H. McDonough discusses brain wave data from a test of an anticonvulsant drug with Sergiu Costinas. Costinas, who will start medical school later this year, was mentored by McDonough through his senior Capstone project and has worked as an Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Engineering intern in McDonough's lab. (Photo by Stephanie Froberg)

Principal investigator John H. McDonough, Ph.D., a research psychologist at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, received a 2015 Visionary Award from the Northeastern Maryland Technology Council for his mentorship of high school and college students February 26, at the Richlin Ballroom in Edgewood, Maryland.

Upon learning of his selection, McDonough said, "It is a great reward to be able to encourage the next generation to engage in STEM careers."

"I am very proud of how our Institute allows students to become directly involved with everything from the conceptualization of a research project, to preparing for all phases of it, performing the hands-on bench work and finally presenting and interpreting the results," McDonough continued. "A number of the students' projects have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and/or given as research presentations at national scientific meetings such as the Society for Neuroscience and the Society of Toxicology."

McDonough was nominated by Dr. Douglas Cerasoli, fellow MRICD principal investigator and 2012 winner of the NMTC Visionary Award for mentorship. Cerasoli highlighted McDonough's "life-long commitment to STEM education, mentorship and support of scientific learning," noting that McDonough was one of the first USAMRICD scientists to employ college students during the summer through the student contractor program. Later, McDonough hired college students and recent college graduates through the Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Engineering apprenticeship program.

McDonough has mentored more than 60 ORISE participants. Many have gone on to medical and veterinary schools or to earn other graduate and doctoral degrees. Several current ORISE interns are doing their master's thesis research in McDonough's lab, while another has been accepted to dental school.

McDonough has also been a long-time champion of encouraging scientific pursuits at the high-school level, and many of his ORISE interns began their STEM careers in his lab as high school students, through the Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program or the Science and Mathematics Academy at Aberdeen High School.

SEAP, for which McDonough has served as a co-coordinator at the USAMRICD for 14 years, provides high school students with an 8-week summer internship to conduct an independent research project under the mentorship of an established scientist. Additionally, when Aberdeen High School initiated its SMA in 2008, McDonough opened his lab to students, each year mentoring one or more of them through their Capstone projects. Among McDonough's former Capstone students, one is currently in medical school, one is in a pre-med program and another has earned a master's in biochemistry.

The NMTC honored 16 individuals with a Visionary Award to recognize their "contributions to the advancement of STEM education and technology," according to a council press release. Award categories included: visionary, leader, innovator, mentor, rising star and technology advancement.

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Last Modified Date: 16-Mar-2015